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Painting Fire

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The accident had taken place when Wick was thirteen. He’d been playing near one of the large, wooden cabins at the edge of the village, his silver fox pup close by him. He hadn’t thought much of the smell of smoke at first, the flame in his palm consuming most of his attention.

 

Moon, the fox, yipped at him as they made their way back to the town, dancing and prancing around his legs. Wick laughed at her, kneeling down to stroke her head. That’s when it registered that the smell wasn’t coming from his baby flame, it was coming from his home.

 

He looked up, and was met with flames bigger than he’d ever seen. They reflected in his eyes, and burned at them, though he was still a good couple of feet away. Moon yipped again, nipping and tugging at Wick’s pant leg.

 

“Mum?” Wick yelped. “Mum! Dad!” He pushed himself off the ground, sprinting for the flaming house. As he grew closer, the heat became more and more unbearable. Wick had to squint against the flame in order to see clearly, though the tears building up in his eyes didn’t help.

 

“Mum! Dad! I’m here!” he shouted, but his voice was enveloped and muted by the roar of the flames.

 

Behind him, Wick could hear Moon yelping for him. Her bark was shrill, almost pained, and though it was barely audible, Wick couldn’t stand to hear it.

 

Flames licked at Wick’s face as he raced back to the where he had come from, looking desperately for Moon. She was standing just outside the burning mess, trying her best to get inside to Wick.

 

“No! No, stay back, girl!” Wick coughed out, inhaling a large bit of smoke as he breathed. He stumbled, his knees wobbling and his legs turning to jelly.

 

The smoke stung Wick’s eyes and throat, and though he reached desperately for the exit, he couldn’t seem to get there. It was almost like it was shrinking away from him, taking Moon and the rest of the world with it.

 

The last thing Wick saw before he slipped into unconscious was a blinding white flash of light, and a tall figure stepping toward him.



~~~

 

When Wick woke, the sky was dark. He couldn’t see much except for the same large figure from before, hovering over him with a curious expression on his face. The man was tall, with a broad chest and shoulders, though his waist was slim. His legs seemed to make up most of his height, as they seemed to stretch for miles.

 

“Hey.” his voice echoed through Wick’s head, and though it was deep, it only added to the ringing in his ears. “Hey, kid, are you alright?”

 

Wick groaned quietly, opening his mouth to say something. Rather than words, though, he began coughing, with eventually ended in him hacking up a rather large chunk of grey phlegm. “Gross…” he mumbled, his voice rough and gravely.

 

The man chuckled quietly, reaching out a tattoo covered hand to help Wick up. The tattoos were swirling, climbing up his arm and wrapping around his torso like vines. They tried to stretch up his neck, but stopped just above where his shirt collar might have been.

 

Wick took the other’s hand, slowly pulling himself up. He blinked, hoping it would help his lack of vision, but it didn’t do anything. He stumbled slightly as he stood, nearly falling into the man before him. “Sorry...clumsy.”

 

The guy chuckled once again, shaking his head. “I'm Buren.” he said smoothly.

 

Wick stared up at the man - Buren - for a moment. He was hardly a man at all, really. He must’ve been eighteen at the youngest, and though his stature was strong and confident, his eyes were full of wonder and curiosity.

 

“Wick.” Wick replied quietly as he glanced around the area. It was hard to see, and he had to turn his head further than normal to see all of his surroundings. The small village that had once been his home was gone, now no more than ash and rubble. Amongst the debris, Moon was bouncing around with a small fawn.

 

His flank was speckled with white spots, though the rest of his fur was a reddish-brown. He nipped playfully at Moon, who leapt onto his back and let out a small howl.

 

Wick laughed quietly, running a hand through his tangled chocolate hair. “Moon.” he called gently, moving to take a step forward. It only took about four strides for him trip over a piece of charred wood.

 

Behind him, Buren snorted. When Wick turned to glare at him, the older clapped a hand over his mouth, stifling his laughs.

 

“Sorry.” he snickered.

 

“No you’re not.” Wick rolled his eyes. “What’s up with my balance? And why isn’t this eye working?” Wick moved his hand, pointing to his left eye with a huff.

 

Buren hummed awkwardly for a moment, then sighed. “Remember that light you saw?”

 

“Yeah.” Wick nodded skeptically.

 

“It may or may not have gotten a little too close to you.” Buren said, kicking at the ground nervously. “It’s not like I meant to do it but…”

 

“So I’m blind?” Wick asked, quirking a brow at Buren, who nodded slowly.

 

“Great! Wonderful, that’s definitely going to help me.” Wick huffed out, pushing himself off the ground. “Thank you so much for all your ‘ help ’, but we should really get going.” he continued. “Gotta find shelter and what not. Moon!”

 

Wick turned to Moon, who looked up at expectantly from the fawn’s back. She yipped and leapt off him, rushing for Wick. The boy knelt down, scooping Moon into his arms and standing again.

 

“Wait-” Buren said, placing a gentle hand on Wick’s shoulder. “Stay with me. That way I can make sure you heal properly.”

 

Wick quirked a brow again and snorted. “I don’t think so.”

 

“Please?” Buren pushed. “It’s the least I can do…”

 

Wick stared at Buren suspiciously for a moment before rolling his eyes and sighing. “Fine.” he mumbled. “But I get to pick what’s for dinner.”

 

Buren nodded in affirmation. “Deal.”